Thursday, 23 June 2016

Shopping in London: Brent Cross

This year, what my parents described to me as the original shopping center, Brent Cross, turned 40 and the lovely team there invited me along for the day to celebrate!

I've written a post over on their blog all about my trip; which involved a little bit more than just shopping so if you want to see what I got up to and what I came home with you can check it out here!

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Flats Wishlist Via LYST

It's been a little while since my last wish list but with summer approaching pretty fast and my brand new layout I thought now would be a good time to get them started again since theres so many pieces that I've fallen in love with recently! I have been on the hunt for bikinis so thats what my next one is going to be about but this time around its shoe themed and all of these can be found on LYST which is a site that brings designer items together so you can shop for them all at once! Pretty cool.

So I know this is supposed to be a flats wishlist but I'm kicking it off with a pair of heels (1). I did actually come across the flats first but they are so super cute that I had to include the mid and high heeled version too! I already have a pair from ASOS that are very similar but I just love these and all their cute little pom poms!

Moving on to something a little less fluffy but just a cute - these sparkly lace up flats (2). I love in my plain black ones in the summer but this just adds something a little different. They'd be perfect around Christmas time!
More cuteless on the scene comes from these Charlotte Olympia kitty flats (7). I know they are a little bit old news now but that doesn't stop them being super cute! I love the simple black and gold but I didn't realise they came in so many shades! My favourite pair from LYST's collection has to be these leopard ones (3).

This summer, I'm all about the espadrilles and although I haven't come across and high street versions that I like yet, I instantly fell in love with both of these! I love the super thick sole, black leather Kenzo espadrilles (6) which have the brand tiger embossed on the front and these beige, lace up the leg versions from castaner (4).

As for trainers, I live in my black and white roshes so I am really ready for another style when it comes to every day black and white trainers (5). I cant do with trainers that look to exercisey so these will do perfectly!
and lastly, I know everyone loves the Valentino heels but I think these these flats (8) versions are actually much nicer! What do you think? 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Afternoon Tea At Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

Our long awaited booking for afternoon tea at Dalloway Terrace finally came around, and let me tell you, it was worth the wait! It was pretty good and Andrew even decided that it was the best afternoon tea he's ever had which is quite a bold statement considering some of the places we've visited!
Located in The Bloonsbury hotel, (which was covered in beautiful flowers for their #ChelseainBLOOMsbury campaign) less than a minute from Tottenham Court Road station, Dalloway Terrace is just like a secret garden hidden away from the busy streets of the west end. You wouldn't be blamed for forgetting you were in London altogether with calm and very relaxed atmosphere, the prettieness of the surroundings and a DJ playing jazz style old skool kisstory. Amazing.
Brick walls adorned with trees, a retractable roof & marble tables with wicker chairs and a blanket incase you got cold. It was pretty amazing when the sun was in but ever more so when it came out of the clouds - the perfect place to spend a relaxed Saturday afternoon. 

The Drinks

We begun with a glass of skinny prosecco whilst we decided on which tea to have. Has anyone else noticed this new trend of skinny fizz? Is it just a London thing? They only had skinny champagne whilst we were at selfridges earlier this month and now I see it again here. It definitely changes the flavour but it's not bad at all. 

As for the tea, we both went for a good old English breakfast in the end.

The Sandwiches

The stand soon arrived, adorned with delicious sandwiches, warm scones and pretty little cakes. You probably know this by now but the sandwiches are usually my favourite part and these varied between a very simple egg mayo and a ham and then a little bit more interesting salmon rillettes, and chicken brioche, all of which were delicious. I actually liked the ham one best which has never happened before. I think it was the simplicity of salted butter, very thin layer of mustard and normal sandwich ham that won me over. The salmon and crab rillettes, were also really lovely as it was something a bit different, texture wise, from the usual.

The Scones

We got one plain and one sultana scone each which is always far too much for me. I love scones and these were delicious, warm and fluffy but I just can't handle them so I settled with drowning the one half that I did have with as much cream and jam as I could possibly fit on it. The jam was oddly quite runny but I think that was the only fault of our whole day so I'll let them off. Everything else was perfect. 

The Cakes

On to the cakes. For the first time ever, I enjoyed each and every one on offer - Bloomsbury Cupcake, mango & passion fruit dome, Chocolate ├ęclair & Lemon meringue mousse plus a custard and compote each! It was down to the lovely mix of chocolate desserts, light fruity ones and the custard one as well. My favourite was the mango and passion fruit dome which was a lovely bright yellow with a pretty purple petal on top. It was thick and creamy with intense flavour. I couldn't eat it all in one go but kept coming back for a little taste until it was gone.
We stayed for another hour or so after we finished food as it was just such a lovely setting. Tea at Dalloway Terrace costs £30 or £35 with fizz and £40 with Champagne. 

If your looking for someone a bit different from a traditional afternoon tea at a London hotel then I'd definitely recommend trying it here. The amazing food and unique location is definitely worth a visit!

*Our food and drinks were complimentary although all thoughts are 100% my own.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Where To Eat In Madrid: Breakfast & Dinner at Ana La Santa

We was only in Madrid for two and a half days, and whilst we ate in lots of cute little cafes and restaurants out on the street (as well as one cheeky McDonalds) there was only one specific place that I would recommend. Its Called Ana La Santa and its the restaurant at the ME hotel in Madrid. We spend quite a lot of our trip at the hotel visiting for breakfast, dinner and the bar there too but I have a separate post altogether for drinks so I just want to cover the food here.
We arrived at The Santa Ana Terrace in the early evening and it was the perfect place to sit and watch the world - I love people watching. It was calm, comfortable, there was good wifi and the food was delicious. The room we ate in was filled with pretty green plants and the big windows at the front which opens up to look out over the busy square outside. It was so full of life and had a lovely atmosphere with people eating in the street and a man playing an accordion.

We started with cocktails of course; I went for a virgin frozen strawberry daiquiri (I was very pleased when they arrived just as I remember from ME Mallorca) and Andrew had an Aperol spritz which cost a grand total of €14. No bad when we are used to paying more than that for just one.
For dinner, we shared a chicken wings to start and then an incredible paella. It was a little different to the usual bright orange touristy dish with clams and tiny octopuses' and a thin layer of brown rice which had a more baked feel to it. All the sticky bits had settled on the bottom of the pan and it was seriously packed full of sticky, intense flavour. 
We loved it there so much that we went back to the hotel on our last morning in Madrid. Andrew remembered how much he enjoyed breakfast when we stayed at ME Mallorca, so when we arrived at 11.59 and were given the option of breakfast (assuming that we could decide what within the minute) or lunch we picked breakfast there and then.

They had a whole selection of breakfast combos which each had loads of components. They all cost between  €10 - €13 which we thought was amazing value for money. Between us we had two glasses of orange juice, a peppermint tea, a cup of coffee, two rounds of toast, a fruit salad, scrambled eggs and bacon and a portion of eggs royal; and as expected, it all tasted great too! My eggs weren't exactly poached (they look fried to me) but the yolks were still runny and it was drowning in hollandaise which is just how I like them!
So if you are planning a trip to Madrid, I would definitely recommend this place for a sophisticated and tasty meal.


Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Alchemist, Bevis Marks London

I always see people tweeting photos of incredible cocktails from The Alchemist but for some reason, I was convinced that they only had one branch and that it was in Leeds. Well, I got an email a couple of weeks ago confirming that in fact, I was wrong and there are actually five branches including one in London. Doh. This mysterious email also invited me along to come and try the amazing cocktails for myself as well as a meal while I was there.

We booked in for Friday night and as you can imagine a bar in the city at that time of week, it was packed out. Initially, I thought it looked great as a bar, but I was a bit worried about having to eat a meal in those surroundings, although that didn't last long at all when they lead us upstairs to a much calmer, romantically lit, dining area. 
After a quick look through the very cool menus, we started off with a cocktail for two. Someone suggested trying the Mad Hatters Tea Party and once I saw the components, (aka elderflower, passion fruit and vodka,) I was happy to oblige. I knew these cocktails were going to be alot of fun as soon as we started seeing big puffs of smoke appear around the room every time someone ordered something.
 Ours arrived in something that reminded me of GCSE science and was heated up at the table with a little blue bunsen burner. It soon started to bubble away after which the waitress removed the flame and poured the concoction into a conical flask. Soon enough, we had our very own puff of smoke. 
Once that had disappeared, our hot cocktail was poured into pretty china cups ready to be drunk. While all of this was happening, our starters arrived. They have got their starters down and I would happily have just ordered a few starters and nothing else. Sticking with just one, I went for the duck spring rolls which were stuffed full of meat, which was great with a side of hoisin sauce. Very tasty. Andrew went for chicken wings and although mine tasted great, I was pretty jealous of how cool his looked! How blogger is this copper mug?!
 The mains were pretty average but then again, they were pretty good for a bar that does food. I was impressed with the presentation of my fajitas but chicken was a bit dry and wraps had steamed to each other. Andrew had a big juicy burger and we also ordered a side of kale which tasted just like seaweed from the chinese and sweet potato fries!
I decided against dessert for the first time in my life and went with a white chocolate and raspberry cocktail instead. Andrew had a slice of chocolate fudge which he did go on about quite a bit so it must have been good.  My cocktail on the other hand arrived, looking and tasting for that matter, more like jelly and cream. It was neon red and topped with whipped cream. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting but still very desserty and filled my dessert spot!
I quite enjoyed my night there and would defitenly return although I'm not sure I'd order mains again but just lots of yummy started to share!

*Our food was complimentary in return for this review although all thoughts are 100% my own

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

How To Survive An Early Morning Airport Trip

I was really starting to get depressed about not having any holidays booked up for this year so in the past month, Andrew and I booked up three - and to be honest, I am still hoping to fit some more trips in through the year. We've just gotten back from our first which was a mini break to Madrid and a really lovely break in 27° heat. Keep an eye out for my Madrid Diary which I am working on at the moment.

While I was sat in the car at 4.30am on the way to Gatwick I started remembering all the things I love about going to an airport, guilt free 5am breakfast, duty free spending and real life sob story mags among other things. I do love traveling but no one likes being sat in front of three young children who have been left to entertain themselves so I decided to put this post together whilst I was on the plane to distract myself from the constant chair kicking and arguing that was going on behind me.

What to wear for a flight

Long or short haul, it's all about comfort for me, I always get changed when I arrive at my hotel so I'm not too bothered about looking good although it is nice if I can manage it while still getting maximum comfort in my outfit. This time we were going away with Andrews family so I needed a more conservative flight outfit which translated to tracksuit bottoms, a little vest top and a hoodie because I couldn't think of anything worse that being restricted by jeans on a flight. On top of that I wore a bomber jacket so I could layer up and down as the temperature changes from London to whatever heat we arrive to.

If I was going with friends, or just Andrew though, I love a boxy crop top on a flight, I think I like the ventilation aspect of them with either a stretchy skirt or (not denim) shorts. Other than that, my most usual flight outfit is a light, floaty dress, almost as if I'm already walking along the beach! 

As for shoes it's usually converse or trainers because as I'm sure you know, there's alot of lugging cases around at airports. 
Coming home is usually a whole other story. Most of the time I refused to a knowledge that I am going back to London and it's probably raining so I'll just put on another holiday outfit. Then, when I am greeted by a usual London downpour, I pull whatever I can get my hands, on out of my case and put that one. This time, I started in a pink dress and finished with a pair of tracksuit bottoms on underneath which I wore the whole way home. Airport fashion at its finest! No shame.

The Best Hand Luggage

I already introduced you my red Antler case a few months ago but this was the first time it's come to an airport with me and I cannot tell you how much it improved my whole travel experience. It glided along without any force and meant I was able to rummage around in my handbag and still be able to control my case without paying too much attention to it. It moved exactly where I wanted it to and it done it with complete ease. I love it's bright colour and would love to get a bigger one in blue or green for longer trips in the future. 
My handbag, as it always is for flights, was my classic Longchamp bag. I didn't realise how tatty and old it's started to look but its such a great bag that I will definitely go out and buy the same again for my next trip. There are alot of things that I love about this bag, its simplicity and its weightlessness are the main two things though. I love that its just a big empty space to put things in, no little compartments or pockets mean I can get my camera in its camera bag in it along with everything else that I need. Its one simple zip means that as well as being very safe, I can get things in and out of it, with one hand, in a couple of seconds.

Along with my camera, the things I like to keep on my when I travel are my phone, passport (obvs) and travel insurance which I keep together in an envelope, a small purse with sections for £ and , my Raybans for when I arrive and this time, I had a Bens cookie in there too.

Airport Purchases

I like to take out £20 before I get to the airport so I can stock up on all those things that I mentioned at the beginning. We spend our money on Pret and WH Smiths so obviously, that means the majority of it goes on food. I dont make a habit of buying huge bars of chocolate and crisps to eat in one sitting but it's totally guilt free before a flight for some reason. 

I am always tempted by a 5am chicken and avocado sandwich because the one from Pret is the best thing ever but bread makes me feel so ill that I try really hard to avoid it, especially before a holiday as it makes me really bloated as well. This time it was easy as I was in the mood for something warm and managed to grab one of the last two porridge's, with two pots of honey.  
After breakfast, I picked up two giant Toblerones for my parents and it was buy three for £10 so I got myself a big bag of 16 Twix as well to keep me going over the weekend. I always get worried that I won't find any English chocolate abroad. We also got a big bottle of water and my guilty pleasure, a couple of real life magazines! I never have time to read mags during my day to day but my first choice is always real life.
 And there we have it! What are your flying essentials for early morning flights?

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